Top 25 Cigar Sweepstakes - Enter To Win A Box of the #1 Cigar!

Cigar Industry

2021 Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest: The Cigars of Rocky Patel

Nov 2, 2021 | By Chris Esposito
2021 Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest: The Cigars of Rocky Patel
Photos/Zak Bennett
Rocky Patel of Rocky Patel Premium Cigars addresses the audience at the inaugural Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest in Hollywood, Florida.

Expansion, brand recognition and vertical integration: these were the main talking points that Rocky Patel emphasized during his seminar at the Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida this past Saturday morning.

“When I started, everything was very mild and linear. I wanted to make something with more character,” he told the crowd. “Maybe it was something from my Indian background with all the spices and everything.” Rocky continued by saying how much he loves to cook and takes pride in his palate, whether it’s tasting a dish he prepared or a cigar his company rolled.

“So how did you go from being a big, fancy Hollywood lawyer to becoming a cigarmaker?” managing editor Gregory Mottola joked with Patel. The now big-shot cigarmaker went on to talk about his time on movie sets with actors like Jean-Claude Van Damme, who has famously smoked cigars in films, and how that turned him onto handmade smokes.

Rocky Patel
Cigar aficionados from around the United States and around the world light up during the Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest seminars.

Patel also spent a lot of time talking about his background with the Plasencia family of Central America. They gave him the opportunity to create his own line of cigars in their Honduran factory, which is where he really broke into the industry.

“’Who the hell cares about Rocky Patel?’ they would say,” said Rocky, impersonating what an outsider would think about hearing such a new and unconventional name in the industry. Later Patel branched out and eventually put his own name on the cigar, and opened a second factory, this one owned entirely by his company, so he could finally control his own destiny.

The cigarmaker hammered home the notion that his company would utilize the strictest implementation and guidelines possible, in order to guarantee each cigar would be as similar in quality and color as the one next to it—referring to a box of his Rocky Patel Sixty (a cigar that each audience member had the chance to smoke) as a box of chocolate. He wanted each chocolate to look the same delicious brown as the rest.

Rocky Patel
Rocky Patel and managing editor Gregory Mottola smoke a Rocky Patel Sixty while having an in depth conversation before the crowd.

“I love blending cigars,” he said, regardless if the tobacco is from Honduras, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic or a place like Panama. “People thought I was crazy,” he said, at the notion of using Panamanian tobacco for the Edge. He even went into how he also used Broadleaf, a tobacco typically used as a wrapper, within the cigars themselves. Rocky said he and his workers would smoke new cigars for 10 days, trying and retrying 50 to 75 blends as they got better and worse.

Before taking questions from the audience, he also addressed any inconsistency in a cigar year over year: “Everyone expects the same cigars, but Mother Nature dictates itself, much like it does for a fine wine.”

One audience member’s “question” summed up the feeling of the seminars and the Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest as a whole: “I just want to say ‘thank you.’ The Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 is the first cigar I ever bought.” Gratitude and appreciation for the art of handmade smokes were ever-present throughout the day.

Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest Rocky Patel Rocky Patel Premium Cigars

More in Cigar Industry

See all
PCA Expands Board of Directors

PCA Expands Board of Directors

The total board is being expanded to 19 spots.

Jan 11, 2022
Cigar Shipments Continue Growing

Cigar Shipments Continue Growing

Shipments of premium, handmade cigars have already roared past 300 million units.

Jan 6, 2022
Newest Cigar Import Numbers Show Continued Growth

Newest Cigar Import Numbers Show Continued Growth

Imports of premium, handmade cigars continue to impress.

Dec 23, 2021
A Walking Tour of the J.C. Newman Cigar Co., Tampa

A Walking Tour of the J.C. Newman Cigar Co., Tampa

To celebrate more than a century in business, the Newmans decided to convert some of their headquarte…

Dec 22, 2021
J.C. Newman Names Aimee Cooks General Manager of Tampa Cigar Factory

J.C. Newman Names Aimee Cooks General Manager of Tampa Cigar Factory

Cooks will oversee all manufacturing responsibilities at the facility.

Dec 21, 2021
La Casa del Habano Opens In Canary Islands

La Casa del Habano Opens In Canary Islands

The first Casa del Habano in the Canary Islands opened in the tourist location of Costa Adeje, Santa …

Dec 9, 2021
z